India’s Avani Lekhara became the first woman from the country to win a Paralympic gold medal. Lekhara won the medal in the women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing (SH1) event at the Tokyo Paralympics. As wishes poured in from across the country, industrialist Anand Mahindra announced a special gift for the shooter.
In a tweet, the Chairman of the Mahindra Group announced that the company will dedicate its “first-ever customised sport utility vehicle (SUV) for those with disabilities” to shooter Avani Lekhara. Sharing the news on Twitter, Anand Mahindra said that the idea for such a vehicle was presented to the automobile industry by the President of the Paralympic Committee of India, Deepa Malik.
The purpose of the special SUV would be to make travelling by road a comfortable and easy experience for people with special abilities.
In the tweet, Mahindra said, “A week ago, Deepa Malik suggested that we develop SUV for those with disabilities. Like the one she uses in Tokyo. I requested my colleague Velu, who heads Development to rise to that challenge. Well, Velu, I’d like to dedicate & gift the first one you make to Avani Lekhara.”
Mahindra’s decision was met with a positive response on social media. Reacting to the tweet, one user said, “Wish there were many more of your kind to give a level playing field for our special children to excel in their chosen fields.” Another user commented that such gestures of appreciation were essential for athletes.
“A fantastic welcome move,” said another user. Tweeple hoped that other corporations would also follow suit and reward the athletes.
It is worth adding that in addition to being the first Indian to win a Paralympic gold medal, Avani Lekhara also holds the distinction of setting a new Paralympic record with her score of 249.6. The 19-year-old who is from Jaipur had sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012.
This is not the first time Mahindra has announced a reward for an athlete. Earlier this month, Mahindra announced that he will gift recently launched SUV, XUV 700 to Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra. Responding to a follower on Twitter who asked him to gift Chopra the XUV700, Mahindra said, “Yes indeed. It will be my personal privilege & honour to gift our Golden Athlete an XUV 700.”
Tagging M&M Ltd Executive Director Rajesh Jejurikar and M&M Ltd CEO Automotive Division Veejay Nakra, Mahindra asked them to “keep one ready for him please”. Further, when a follower asked to give Chopra the first XUV700, not just another unit, Mahindra, an ardent sports fan, responded, “We hear you”.